Chico Hamilton: Elevation




Chico Hamilton (drums)


The Alternative Dimensions Of El Chico (Joyous Shout JS 10006)

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Chico Hamilton (drums),

Cary Denigrus (guitar), Paul Ramsey (Fender bass), Evan Schwam (tenor saxophone), Andrew Hadro (alto saxophone), Jeremy Carlstedt (percussion)


Composed by Kevin Hedge and Josh Milan


Recorded: NYC


Rating: 86/100 (learn more)

Situated near the end of an EP of mostly re-edited Hamilton tunes, “Elevation” is one performance presented on the disc not enhanced with sampling and/or club mixing. The thrill of this slower track comes not from studio wizardry but from Chico himself.

Hadro and Denigrus are the lead voices here, but it’s Hamilton’s drum work that’s the most riveting aspect. He makes excellent use of shading, timbres and accents to call attention to his drums without soloing or being…well…loud. The primary rhythm he uses is three beats and a mannerly gait on the snare to get to the next three beats. Over time, the tempo increases ever so discreetly to match the enhanced intensity of the song, but you’d never notice without going right back to the beginning of the song. Occasionally, Hamilton switches to a conventional rhythm, effortlessly melding his tom-toms in with Carlstedt’s percussion. Toward the end, he spices things up with some galloping hit-hat.

On a record meant to add dance-club appeal to Hamilton’s work, the most magic happens when the unalloyed Chico Hamilton is allowed to shine through.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron

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